A city that invests in itself improves the quality of life of its residents and attracts visitors.

If the last 20 years have shown us anything, Fort Wayne has become that city. 

In a recent episode of the Mayor Tom Henry Podcast, the City of Fort Wayne’s Director of Community Development Nancy Townsend discussed five community building projects that are currently under construction this summer. City and community leaders trust these projects will make a meaningful and lasting impact on the future of Fort Wayne.


Pillars of Hope and Justice Monument

On June 5, the Fort Wayne Public Art Commission dedicated Pillars of Hope and Justice, a public art monument commemorating the June 5, 1963, visit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Fort Wayne, during which he gave a speech sharing his vision for nonviolent resistance. At a public event, King’s son, Martin Luther King III, was on hand to help city and community leaders dedicate the monument, which is located at the northwest corner of West Main and Ewing streets in downtown Fort Wayne.

Nancy Townsend: (paraphrased) “The idea came from the Fort Wayne Public Art Commission. Community Development was tasked with leading the charge on how to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech here 60 years ago. The piece is beautiful. It was fun to hear the comment from Martin Luther King III, saying he's been to commemorations all over the country and the world, and he found this one to be unique to all of them.”

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Riverfront Development
Last fall, the Community Development Division and Mayor Henry unveiled plans for the next phase of Riverfront development.

The next phase includes the creation of trails, a wetland boardwalk, an open-air pavilion, two new boat docks and more open park space. Additionally, another section of tree canopy trail will be added with two overlooks. There will also be new signage and more access points to the river.

NT: “The next thing we have coming is called Phase II of the public space of Riverfront. We’re really excited about it. There’s going to be more activities for families. We’re going to continue the very popular and very cool tree Top Canopy Trail that’s going to be twice as long as what consists today. In the last 15 years, we’ve looked at peer cities, worked with you (Mayor Henry) and other leadership to determine that not only can we protect people and keep people safe from flooding, but it can turn into an attraction for public and private investment.”


Pontiac Street Market
On March 9, Mayor Henry and the Community Development Division led a celebration to mark the beginning of construction on a full-service grocery store in southeast Fort Wayne called the Pontiac Street Market. The new market will provide healthy, affordable food options in an area that’s currently defined as a food desert. The grocery store comes after being identified as a vital need through several community Southeast Strategy Update meetings.

NT: “I’m happy to say this project is under construction and is located at 918 East Pontiac. This work is being completed by the strong commitment of wanting to put a grocery store in southeast Fort Wayne. We will able to partner with Parkview, and by working with them I’ve learned how important health is in our community. Out of all my years of working with the city, this project is one of my favorites to work on. It will be open this fall.”

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The Lofts at Headwaters Park
On April 11, Mayor Henry, the Community Development Division, and developer Barrett & Stokely held an official groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate construction of The Lofts at Headwaters Park. It’s a $98 million mixed-use development project located at the northeast corner of Clinton and Superior streets.

NT: “The Lofts at Headwaters Park is a really great project. It’s going to include over 200 apartments downtown. It’s also going to include public parking with almost 630 parking spots, more than three times available parking than before. The demand for housing all over our community, especially downtown, is real.”


Roosevelt Reserves

On May 24, Mayor Henry and the Community Development Division broke ground to mark the beginning of construction on a major single-family housing development in southeast Fort Wayne.

Roosevelt Reserves is the largest market rate single-family housing development in southeast Fort Wayne in nearly 50 years

NT: “I’m very excited about Roosevelt Reserves. It’s a 131-lot subdivision on around 126 acres of land at Tillman and Hessen Cassel. The developer is Jerry Starks. He’s been in the housing market for years and we’re excited to work with him on this $40 million project. There’s high demand for people for wanting to live southeast Fort Wayne. This subnivium is going to expand and offer different type of living options.”

To stay informed on all current and future community development projects and news, visit fwcommunitydevelopment.org.

Photo courtesy of Stephen J. Bailey)